In this issue:                                                                     March, 2013

Report on the January Harrietville fire
The Victorian Bushfire Information Line
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW - Bushfire Conference
Bushfire CRC – funding and expanded role
New Police, Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Minister
Management of Unplanned Leave in Emergency Services Report
Events

Report on the January Harrietville fire

On 27 February, Deputy Premier and then Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan asked the Emergency Services Commissioner to provide to him a report on the organisation and management of response resources in the first 72 hours of the Harrietville fire.

The Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner (OESC) has already begun work on this report and welcomes comment from community members and organisations that have been directly affected in the initial 72 hours of the Harrietville fire.

Contributions can be made through written submissions and participation in a community consultation meeting which will be held on Tuesday 19 March. Written submissions will be accepted until 5 pm on Thursday 28 March.

The Commissioner has stated that the purpose of the report is to assist with the continuous improvement of the state’s emergency management arrangements. It will report on the facts and establish how the initial stages of the Harrietville fire were managed.

For further information visit the OESC website.

The Victorian Bushfire Information Line

The Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL), 1800 240 667, is a free information line providing bushfire-related information to help communities prepare before and during the bushfire season. In order to encourage community members to use this service, CFA is conducting a VBIL awareness campaign, which includes the distribution of a free VBIL awareness DVD. CFA would like to enlist support in raising awareness of this resource and asks local government and other organisations to advertise it.

The DVD contains short clips for audiences including community groups, diverse populations and travellers. For future collaboration opportunities regarding the VBIL Awareness DVD, please contact the VBIL team on 03 9262 8850.

Relevant links include:

Youtube

CFA Website

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW - Bushfire Conference

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW Bushfire Program is holding its 9th Biennial Bushfire Conference from 4 to 5 June. The conference, Fire and Healthy Landscapes: Resilient Environment, Resilient People is asking for abstracts for speed talks, oral papers and posters.

The conference aims to explore the role holistic fire management can play in sustaining healthier landscapes and investigate ways to build cohesive communities which are more connected to their local environment in a changing climate.

There will be four symposia on the following themes:
1. Resilience (Environmental and Social) – What is it? How do we achieve it?
2. Good Fire v Bad Fire? – Managing fire to meet desirable local outcomes
3. Using fire for restoration – More than burning within specific thresholds
4. Strengthening community resilience – What tools are available and how to use them

For further information contact BushfireConf2013@nccnsw.org.au.

Bushfire CRC – funding and expanded role

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced in February $47 million over eight years for a new Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) from 1 July.

The new CRC will build on the work of the Bushfire CRC, ensuring that the work done by the Bushfire CRC can continue, while developing a complementary natural hazards research program into flood, earthquake, cyclone and tsunami events. The new CRC will conduct coordinated and interdisciplinary research including work with communities, to improve disaster resilience and reduce the human, social, economic and environmental costs from bushfires and other natural hazards.

The Commonwealth contribution is contingent on the states and territories making similar commitments to this expanded research activity.

Further information can be found in the Bushfire CRC March Update which also includes information on:

  • New resources on how to run a ‘Staff Ride’ – a practical learning activity in analysing response to a fire
  • Researchers in the field after recent fires
  • Bushfire CRC research in international magazines

New Police, Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Minister

Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan has been replaced as Police, Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Minister by former Treasurer Kim Wells as part of Ministerial change under new Premier Denis Napthine.

Management of Unplanned Leave in Emergency Services Report

A Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) report titled the Management of Unplanned Leave in Emergency was tabled in State Parliament on 6 March. Research outlined in the report highlights that operational staff at Ambulance Victoria, the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board and Victoria Police are more likely to suffer injuries and emotional stress, and have higher rates of unplanned leave, than other public sector staff.

VAGO states that Victoria’s emergency service agencies have each recognised the importance of managing unplanned leave. However, there are significant differences in how effectively and efficiently they are each managing these issues.

Upcoming events...

20 March

Understanding coastal climate challenges for local government

18 - 19 April

NTCA local government forest and timber industry conference

4 - 5 June

Nature Conservation Council Bushfire Conference

 

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